Monday April 13, 2015 8:03 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
With the release of OS X 10.10.3 last Wednesday, Apple has expanded support for high-resolution 4K and even 5K external displays (via 9to5Mac). Most notably, OS X 10.10.3 enables the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro to drive Dell's UP2715K 27-inch 5K display released late last year. The display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution taking up two ports on the user's machine.
This bandwidth issue for the current DisplayPort standard has been seen as a major roadblock keeping Apple from releasing a standalone 5K Thunderbolt Display. With the Retina iMac, Apple has been able to build custom internal components to drive the massive display, but for external displays, a dual-cable solution such as that used by Dell has been considered by many to be "un-Apple like."
As a result, Apple has been widely expected to wait until the release of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year before releasing an external 5K Thunderbolt Display that will function over a single cable. Whether the inclusion of support for Dell's dual-cable solution in OS X 10.10.3 is a sign Apple may be willing to adopt that arrangement for its own display and perhaps release it earlier is, however, unclear.
Beyond 5K displays, OS X 10.10.3 has also expanded support for 4K displays to include "most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays" at 60 Hz, expanding beyond the previous support of only Multi-Stream Transport displays introduced in late updates to Mavericks. The new 4K display support will function with most of the Mac line, from the 27-inch iMac to the brand-new Retina MacBook. However, only the Mac Pro and iMac will support full 4096x2160 resolution at 60Hz.
With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3, most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays are supported at 60Hz operation on the following Mac computers:
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
- Mac mini (Late 2014)
- MacBook Air (Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
As for the new 12-inch MacBook, the laptop will be able to support displays and rates of 3840x2160 at a 30 Hz refresh rate and 4096x2160 at a 24 Hz refresh rate. MacBook users wanting to use such a display will, of course, need to use Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to do so.
Wednesday October 29, 2014 9:40 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Twelve South today announced a new horizontal stand designed specifically for the new model of Mac Pro. Unlike most of Twelve South's product line, the BookArc for Mac Pro is made of a shinier chrome plate that offsets the deep black colors of the Mac Pro itself. The specially designed stand allows Mac Pros to be placed horizontally, saving vertical space in cabinets and on shelves. Earlier in the year Apple confirmed horizontal placement of the Mac Pro unit was safe and operable, under certain guidelines.
The beautiful, arc-shaped stand holds a Mac Pro horizontally, cutting the vertical height requirement in half. A lower height increases the number of places you can park the most powerful Mac available, including inside professional gear racks and studio shelves.
Is it safe to use a Mac Pro horizontally? Absolutely. It will perform exactly the same on its side as it will upright. In fact, the Apple Tech Note that refers to using a Mac Pro on its side was the inspiration for designing this curved metal stand. Historically, most stand-alone Macs were able to be used on their side or vertically. Twelve South now brings this flexible option to the newest Mac Pro with the BookArc for Mac Pro.
According to Twelve South, if placed inside a racked studio cabinet the Mac Pro on BookArc takes up only seven spaces against the fifteen it would occupy if placed vertically. Twelve South also sells BookArc for a wide variety of Apple products, including ones for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and nearly all lines of iPad, including the new iPad Air 2.
The BookArc for Mac Pro can be purchased today for $59.99 from Twelve South's official website.
Thursday September 25, 2014 10:26 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has recently added the Mac Pro to the refurbished section of its online store, giving customers the opportunity to purchase the professional-level desktop at a 15 percent discount compared to a brand-new machine for the first time since the computer's December 2013 release.
There are several different configurations available, ranging in price from $2,549 for the 3.7GHz quad-core machine with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage to $7,479 for the 2.7Ghz 12-core machine with 32GB RAM and 1TB storage. All available refurbished Mac Pro models ship within 3 to 5 business days.
All of Apple's refurbished products, the Mac Pro included, have been thoroughly tested for reliability and come with the same one-year warranty offered with standard products.
Apple's 2013 Mac Pro made waves when it was released, due to its radically redesigned cylindrical form factor and the fact that the machine is the first to be assembled in the United States. It features Ivy Bridge E processors, dual GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, and fast PCI Express-based flash storage.
Thursday August 14, 2014 11:37 am PDT by Eric Slivka
After nearly three and a half years with only a minor processor bump, Apple late last year launched its redesigned Mac Pro, moving to a compact cylindrical design relying on a slew of Thunderbolt 2 ports for expandability. While the new machine began shipping in the last few days of 2013, extreme shortages of the machine persisted for months and it wasn't until two months ago that shipping estimates reached the "within 24 hours" level and Apple's own retail stores began stocking the Mac Pro for immediate purchase.
Potential Mac Pro customers may now, however, be starting to look forward to the first update for the redesigned Mac Pro, as Intel appears set to launch new processors appropriate for the Mac Pro next month. As highlighted by Macworld UK, Intel's "Grantley" Xeon E5 v3 chips are nearly ready to ship as successors to the current "Romley" Xeon E5 v2 chips used in the Mac Pro.
Intel announced last month that it had begun shipping at least some versions of the new Xeon E5 v3 chips to server makers, and widespread availability is reportedly set for September. ChipLoco outlined a significant set of E5-2600 v3 series chips, including several that recently became available for pre-order and could be used as an upgrade to the current top-of-the-line 2.7 GHz 12-core E5-2697 v2 chip found in the Mac Pro.
The direct successor to the current chip is the 2.6 GHz 14-core E5-2697 v3 chip, although the new chip does come with a higher thermal rating and it is unclear whether that change would have any impact on Apple's willingness to use the chip in the Mac Pro. Other variants in the new high-end E5-269x v3 series range from 12 to 18 cores.
Below the top end, Apple currently uses E5-1600 v2 series processors, and Intel is reportedly preparing a full set of successor v3 chips for launch next month.
As with the E5-2600 v3 series chips, these E5-1600 v3 series chips come with higher thermal ratings than their predecessors. All of the new chips in both series also support faster DDR4-2133 memory, which will also contribute to improved performance.
On the graphics side, Apple uses customized versions of AMD's FirePro series of high-end graphics cards, although Apple's D300, D500, and D700 options can be roughly equated with AMD's W7000, W8000, and W9000 on the PC side. Over the last several months, AMD has been updating its FirePro cards, culminating with this week's introduction of four new cards, including the W7100 successor to the W7000 card. Alex4D summarizes how the W9100/W8100/W7100 cards introduced in recent months compare to their predecessors and collates a handy comparison chart showing how these new and old cards compare to Apple's D-series cards.
At each level AMD have at least doubled the VRAM, added 40% more stream processors. The W8100 and W9100 have wider memory buses (so more information can be transferred for each command) and many more transistors.
Although Apple can specify any number of stream processors, clock speeds or VRAM, these more recent cards show what AMD considers is the low-, medium- and high-end when it comes to PCs. For Mac owners perspective, they show how much card for a similar amount of money AMD can now make compared with the cards in the Mac Pro and 2012.
As for when updated Mac Pro models might arrive, that remains unclear, but the good news is that the pieces supporting a potential upgrade are starting to fall into place. While Intel's new processors are reportedly scheduled to arrive next month, it is unlikely a Mac Pro upgrade is that close given Apple's usual iPhone focus for that month. But it seems possible an upgrade could be in the works by late this year or early next year depending on how Apple decides to space out its product launches and at what point it views the Mac Pro as in need of a boost.
Apple's lock adapter is a simple metal bracket that secures the lift-off cover of the Mac Pro to the base of the machine with a security cable, preventing access to the machine's internals. The cable lock can then of course be secured to a bulky object or dedicated security ring found on some desks to make it difficult for thieves to steal the machine.
The Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter lets you use a compatible Kensington or similar style third-party lock (sold separately) to keep your Mac Pro secure. The adapter attaches without tools and does not modify or damage the Mac. With a compatible lock connected, the Mac Pro Lock Adapter secures the housing to the enclosure, preventing access to internal components.
Since the Mac Pro's appearance in its retail stores, even Apple has had to use alternate methods to secure the machines, opting for an Ethernet-based alarm system that simply sets off an alarm when the Mac Pro is removed rather than securing it in place.
The Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter is available now in the Apple Online Store for $49. The adapter is not yet being offered for immediate pickup in Apple's retail stores, but will presumably be making its way to the company's stores around the world in the coming days.
Wednesday June 11, 2014 8:01 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Nearly six months post launch, base configurations of the new Mac Pro are now available to ship within 24 hours from Apple's online store for its North American and Asia Pacific regions. Base models in other countries are still listed at 3-5 business days, but those should also move to 24 hours soon. Custom-configured models are listed as available to ship in 1 -2 weeks in most countries.
In addition to orders for shipment, base Mac Pro systems are now also available for same-day Personal Pickup in select U.S. Apple retail stores.
Apple's latest Mac Pro model is assembled in the U.S. at an Austin, Texas facility run by Flextronics. Tim Cook and Eddy Cue recently visited the factory, which has been receiving praise for bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. The plant is approximately a mile away from Apple's expanding Northwest Austin campus that has added more than 700 workers with the recent first expansion phase and eventually will add 3,600 employees to the previous 3,100 employee campus by the end of 2021.
Since the Mac Pro debuted at the end of 2013, Apple has been quiet on the hardware front in 2014, pushing out a small upgrade to the MacBook Air and a new 8 GB iPhone 5c for some markets. Apple is rumored to be working on a Retina MacBook Air and new iMac models, perhaps including a more affordable iMac that will address growth in foreign markets.
Shipping estimates for the Mac Pro through Apple's online store continue to rapidly improve, with the company's European stores such as the UK now showing 1-2 weeks for new orders. Online stores for other regions are still listing estimates of 2-3 weeks, but they should be seeing a similar improvement shortly.
After months of shortages for the completely revamped Mac Pro following its December launch, shipping estimates have improved rapidly in recent weeks, although it is unclear how much is due to improved supplies as any kinks have been worked out of Apple's new U.S. production line and how much is due to a slowing of demand after the initial order surge.
Thursday April 24, 2014 1:34 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple’s Mac Pro is now shipping within three to five weeks in the United States, a slight improvement from its previous shipping estimate of four to five weeks.
Both stock and custom configurations list the same shipping estimates, indicating that Apple is slowly making its way towards achieving supply/demand balance on the professional desktop computers.
In early April, shipping estimates were as high as five to six weeks and back in early 2014, shipping estimates were as high as eight weeks, with Apple giving estimates of "March" or "April" for computers ordered in January or February.
Apple’s Mac Pro has been in short supply since its December launch, selling out of stock configurations in a matter of hours. While some early buyers received their machines as early as December 24, buyers who ordered custom configurations had to wait much longer to receive their machines, as did purchasers who ordered after December 19.
"Demand for the all new Mac Pro is great," said an Apple spokesperson in December. "It will take time before supply catches up with demand."
Wednesday April 2, 2014 10:21 am PDT by Jordan Golson
Mounting and organizing options for heavy duty Mac Pro users continue to grow since the new machine's launch at the end of last year, with Sonnet now announcing a new rack mount enclosure capable of holding two Mac Pros. The new enclosure is an additional option to go along with the enclosure and expansion chassis the company announced last week.
This time, the Sonnet Rack Mac Pro allows users to rack mount one or two Mac Pro machines in a 4U space. The unit includes a front panel power button with USB 3.0 port for each machine, plus a second USB 3.0 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and an HDMI connector on the back of the rack for each Mac Pro.
There are no rear Thunderbolt ports because, Sonnet says, there are no panel-mount Thunderbolt connectors available. There is, however, room inside the rack for Thunderbolt cables to be attached, and the company says it is "fairly easy" to directly connect Thunderbolt cables and they can be secured to the Mac Pro so they can not be accidentally unplugged.
The Rack Mac Pro also supports the mounting of Thunderbolt to Fibre Channel adapters like the Promise San Link2.
Pricing is expected to be $599 to rack mount a single Mac Pro, with an add-on to mount a second Mac Pro available for $299. Availability is likely to come in June alongside the previously announced combination enclosure and expansion chassis.
Back in January, OWC confirmed that the 2013 Mac Pro's processor was socketed and removable, theoretically allowing for future upgrades, which are now available by the company. As of today, OWC is allowing users to send in their Mac Pros for both processor and memory upgrades.
Processor upgrades, which start at $1,498 with the trade-in of the base Apple-supplied quad-core processor, include 8-core, 10-core, and 12-core models that are compliant with Apple's technical specifications and power requirements. OWC says that the upgrades are tested, qualified, and guaranteed to meet or exceed the processors available from Apple.
According to the company, the processors are up 46 percent faster than base factory processors available from Apple, and up to 31 percent more affordable.
OWC Turnkey Server Class Processor Upgrade options for Mac Pro 2013 models:
The company is also offering turnkey installations of its memory upgrades, which as previously announced, are available in 32, 64, 96, and 128 GB kits starting at $449.
OWC's Turnkey Upgrade Program, which is available for processor, memory, and storage upgrades, offers professional installation and testing by Apple Certified technicians, also including shipping both ways and rebates for existing hardware. More information on the program can be found on the Other World Computing upgrade website.
The xMac Pro Server includes three PCIe single-width expansion slots, with room for one double-width and one single-width card, Thunderbolt 2 compatibility, and a mounting kit for additional storage or optical drives. On the back, the rack includes three USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an HDMI port, with a single USB 3.0 port on the front. It includes a 300W power supply and a 75W PCIe power connector for supplemental power to certain power-hungry PCIe cards.
The new Mac Pro has become the object of desire, but a lustrous finish hides its true beauty—the massive power within. If you're a pro user in the video or audio industries, the Mac Pro offers the power you need, but lacks the built-in expandability you count on. In order to achieve this engineering feat, Apple® designers stripped away components and space to a minimum, taking out PCIe slots and drive bays, and packed the remaining components into a small cylinder. Its compact size makes the new Mac Pro more transportable and rackable, but prevents onboard installation of PCIe expansion cards. In addition, the computer still requires an enclosure to make it road- or rack-ready and provide convenient cable management. Sonnet's xMac Pro Server PCIe expansion system/4U rackmount enclosure addresses these issues and increases a Mac Pro's potential in a big way.
Sonnet claims the xMac Pro Server will ship in early June, offering a sign-up sheet for interested customers on its website. It has a suggested price of $1,499.
Wednesday March 26, 2014 10:47 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Earlier this month, Transcend announced the launch of 128 GB RAM kits for the new Mac Pro, offering users willing to spend nearly $2500 the ability to go beyond Apple's maximum of 64 GB.
Several new options for 128 GB RAM upgrades have launched since that time, offering consumer more choices in sourcing their RAM. Last week, MacMall began selling 32 GB modules from Axiom for $620, thus matching Transcend's $2480 price for the full 128 GB kit.
As with all of the other 128 GB kits, OWC's will run at 1066 MHz due to limitations in Intel's chipset for addressing the higher capacity of RAM. Lower-capacity RAM kits can run at faster 1866 MHz speeds, but OWC notes that the performance hit of the 128 GB kit is generally minor compared to the benefit of having much more RAM.
While current DRAM device technology limit 32GB modules to a 1066MHz memory clock in the Apple Mac Pro 2013, due to enhanced CAS Performance of OWC MaxRAM 32GB Modules, actual real-world performance is insignificant in low memory need scenarios while offering incredibly significant performance gains in all cases where application use benefits from greater than 64GB of total memory installed.
In addition to its new kits of 32 GB modules, OWC also offers RAM kits for the Mac Pro using 8 GB and 16 GB modules at much lower pricing than through Apple. As a result, customers may prefer to order their Mac Pro from Apple with a minimum of RAM and save some money by upgrading the RAM through OWC or another vendor offering high-quality RAM for lower prices than at Apple.
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